2021 has been a tumultuous time when it comes to CBS' The Talk, as the long-running daytime talk show has lost three of its permanent hosts, with the most recent departure coming less than two weeks before the new season is set to start. Fortunately, the show managed to find a new permanent co-host without wasting any time, and the new pick will be a familiar face both to regular viewers of The Talk as well as American Ninja Warrior over on NBC: Akbar Gbajabiamila.
Elaine Welteroth was one of the newest co-hosts to join The Talk, making her debut as a permanent member of the cast in January 2021 and departing in less than nine months. Akbar Gbajabiamila is no stranger to The Talk, as he appeared on the show as a guest co-host several times in June and July, and he impressed the executive producers enough with those appearances that he has been recruited for the permanent gig starting in Season 12.
Akbar Gbajabiamila joins Sheryl Underwood, Amanda Kloots, and Jerry O'Connell as permanent hosts. O'Connell is a recent addition himself, as he was brought in as a permanent member of the show after the departure of Sharon Osbourne, after Osbourne made headlines for some controversial comments. Carrie Ann Inaba is a recent departure as well.
The Talk executive producer and showrunner Heather Gray named his "engaging personality, openness and quick wit" as reasons why he impressed as a guest co-host, while fellow EP and showrunner Kristin Matthews noted his "candor and humor" as well as his "relatability as a husband and father."
As for Akbar Gbajabiamila himself, he certainly isn't being shy about expressing his excitement about getting to join The Talk as a full-time host. On Instagram, he posted a touching message about what it means to him to be part of the show for Season 12:
In case there was any doubt that the man who went from playing in the NFL to co-hosting American Ninja Warrior would be a great fit for The Talk, even if it is a very different show than when he provides commentary on ANW, then his sheer enthusiasm should be proof that he's ready to give his all. Plus, he recruited the help of his kids for a hilarious and endearing video celebrating his addition to the show, full of happiness and hugs. Take a look:
Honestly, kudos to Akbar Gbajabiamila and his kids for putting together that fun little video in honor of his new job. There are no reports that joining the CBS show means that Gbajabiamila would have to leave American Ninja Warrior, so fans of the football player-turned-TV personality should be able to look forward to even more of him on the small screen. Season 12 of The Talk (opens in new tab) with Gbajabiamila on board as permanent co-host premieres on Monday, September 13, with new episodes airing on weekdays at 2 p.m. ET on CBS.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.
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